It’s disappointing, and perhaps even a little depressing, to realize that what was thought to be an outlandish – maybe even a “one-off” belief amongst Calvinists is normative. This, of course, refers to the YouTube video of Dr. Theodore Zachariades claiming that God may prevent someone from committing adultery while at other times God may necessitate that someone engage in adultery.
It really is difficult for me to wrap my head around Calvinism. It’s my sense that Calvinistic doctrines are antithetical to Biblical teachings. Yet, I am ever surprised not only at the number of people who passionately profess Calvinism but also the (what to me are sometimes) strong arguments they make in favor of their doctrines. And so, it was of interest when a Calvinist I’ve come to know and respect posted:
“The evilest act to have ever occurred was [the crucifixion of] God’s only begotten Son, [where] the only sinless person to ever [have ever lived], was crucified. And yet Scripture tells us that this was foreordained by God. ‘This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.’ Acts 2:23”
The subsequent discussion quickly turned to the sovereignty of God. In all, around 140 comments were posted of which about 20 of the comments belonged to Mrs. Robinson. I thought it’d be an interesting study to take the comments from the OP in defense of Calvinism’s determinist beliefs and try to distill down to some sort of overriding theme. I’ve abbreviated some of the comments and have added requisite punctuation for readability. Anything in [brackets] is my wording to help with the overall clarification.
Comments Mrs. Robinson made pertaining to determinism include:
God’s sovereignty [is] over evil men.
God [has] control over [a] rapist.
[Nothing] happens outside of God’s control
[Events do not] occur outside of his decree?
[One can’t provide] comfort if an event just happens.
God doesn’t make man sin – all God [does] is remove his restraining grace.
The only reason that every man walking the earth isn’t a Hitler or Dahmer is due to God’s restraining grace.
Every evil desire is [within] man from birth.
[Everyone is] totally depraved [and the] only difference between [someone] and [a] Hitler is the grace of God.
God is sovereign over evil men.
Evil people can’t do anything other than what God has decreed.
Nothing happens outside of God’s decree.
All things must be under God’s sovereign control or else He is not sovereign.
Consequently, per the Calvinistic beliefs above, I can only conclude:
There’s no personal responsibility for behaviors, finances, decisions et al.
One’s activities – be they nefarious or otherwise should be of no concern because God has ordained them. I can only presume that this would also include the two-year old throwing a tantrum at having to go to bed.
One’s health should be of no concern. If one is obese, so be it. God’s choice has been manifested. If one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, so be it as this is what God has decided for you.
There’s no such thing as mystery. Any and everything is God’s doing.
God planned from the beginning that man would fall.
The application of applied statistics is meaningless because there’s no such thing as chance, probability or happenstance.
We are held morally responsible and punished for sins committed even though it was God who initiated those sins. We could not do otherwise.
God desires that we sin, and he makes it happen.
The book of Proverbs is pointless.
There is no such thing as wisdom.
Why would a church bother to go through an interview process when selecting a candidate for any position? It’s already been determined. Just post the ad and wait for the first person to call. That must obviously be God’s choice.
We can’t learn from our mistakes which would seem to make personal experiences meaningless.
If anything, I’m struck by the overall lack of applicable logic within Calvinistic thinking and application. For instance, I know of no Calvinists who have forgone putting money into a 401k or seeing a doctor when required. All Calvinists I know wear their seatbelts and incorporate life insurance in their financial portfolios. All Calvinists I know have political leanings and vote accordingly. No Calvinist I know ever given me a halleluiah because babies are being killed in the womb I see the inconsistencies between the Calvinist’s pronouncements of their beliefs verses how they go about living their lives to be profound. As I posted within the forum discussion, “The thought that comes to my mind – who would be charged with neglect should I remove the barrier to our basement steps and my toddler granddaughter takes a tumble?” Of course, I would be held responsible and also liable. Perhaps the next time I’m in a Calvinist’s home and don’t see them protecting their small children in whatever means they deem best, then I’ll know I’m amongst honest Calvinists.